Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sporting KC and Children's Mercy Hospital Announce Partnership

KANSAS CITY, MO -- In a major announcement, Sporting Kansas City will play next season at Children's Mercy Park, part of a ten-year agreement with Children's Mercy Hospital (CMH). CMH is one of the nation's best pediatric hospitals, according to rankings released by U.S. News & World Report.

In addition to the stadium, CMH will also have exclusive naming rights to the training center in Swope Park and the championship field at Swope Soccer Village, home to the Swope Park Rangers and FC Kansas City.

The National Training Center (NTC), currently expected to break ground in the spring, will also house the Children's Mercy Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center. It will serve players from the Sporting KC Academy, as well as offering a full range of sports medicine services, resources and programming for young athletes from all sports, not just soccer.

According to the press release, more than two million high-school athletes and 3.5 million children under age 14 are injured playing sports in the U.S. each year. Only a small percentage (21 percent in the KC area) are treated by pediatric-trained sports medicine specialists.

That is something this partnership will help change. Through their participation in the NTC, CMH is hoping to help change how pediatricians are trained in this country. They're going to be trained in not only the treatment of injuries, but also their prevention.

This would be huge for CMH. They are a teaching hospital and the line for their sports medicine training would probably be a mile long, and that's the list of names on paper, both sides, single-spaced.

The timing of the announcement could not have been better planned. The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) recently announced new rules banning heading for players 10 and under and limited in practice for players aged 11-13. Those rules will be finalized within the next few weeks.

This is important because of the numbers of players who are suffering concussions every year. The long-term effects could be rather daunting to think about when you consider how many NFL players have been found to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and what it did to them in the last few years of their lives and how many of them, including Junior Seau, committed suicide because of it.

It might be overstating it a bit, but November 19, 2015 could go down as the day CMH changed the world of sports medicine forever.


On a personal note, this partnership joins together two things I dearly love. I've been a fan of Sporting KC since day one. I attended all but two games in that first season and had season tickets for a few years before starting to get media credentials in 2008.

Children's Mercy Hospital has had a special place in my heart for longer than that. My sister was born with a heart murmur and she received excellent care when she was younger, so I love them for that.

I know it's not normal to be this geeked about a stadium name, but as has been well established, I'm anything but normal.